Hey friends! Today is my stop on the blog tour for My Life at the End of the Tunnel by Christina Black and I am bringing you an interview with Christina. Enjoy!
Life at the End of the Tunnel by Christina Black
Published by: Clink Street Publishing
Release date: 29/06/2021
Where to find: Amazon
Summary: On her wedding night, it wasn’t the diamonds in her new ring that Christina remembers counting, but the bruises on her body. Some girls get swept off their feet, she got knocked off hers. What happened next, she’s always tried to block out! John was just the first, and the only one she was foolish enough to marry, but what choice did she have? She’d only gone to the party to please her sister, whose twice-divorced neighbour had invited her. Naïve to a fault, she didn’t even know you could spike a drink. Two years, two kids, and a thousand nightmares later, a sympathetic judge brought an end to all the traumas. It wasn’t like this in the knights’ tales she’d escaped to as a child. Or was it? Guinevere’s ardour for Lancelot seemed less romantic when you consider their affair led to the downfall of a kingdom. The Lady of Shallot knew love only through a mirror’s reflection and died in pursuit of it. Was Christina to suffer the same fate? Or would the spirits of those who existed between this life and the next keep her from making any more calamitous decisions?
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I’ve only written one – this one – and it’s taken me a whole lifetime to find a way of telling it. But it took all that time for me to realise I had something to say that people might be able to relate to, and even then I had to have my arm twisted. It’s been a very cathartic process for me, however, ridding myself of all this stuff that’s been building up inside me for years, especially all the secrets that should have come out years ago. I’ve been like a magnet for them since the minute I was born. I’ve seen how they – and the lies that build around them – can affect lives to the point of ruin. But that’s not the only thing I got from writing it. I want this book to help other people, especially young women, those who might have tripped and stumbled into the same kind of situation I found myself in for years. If my book can help even one of them, then I’ll know it’s been worth it.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
As my book is an autobiography, I should probably choose myself, but when I look back on some of the decisions I’ve made, it’s hard to think of myself as a favourite anything really. So many of my decisions, especially the ones I made in my teens and twenties, make me shudder now; but what can I say, other than they felt right at the time? In my own defence, not all of those decisions were mine to make. I got forcibly dragged into some situations, and it’s interesting to think how my life would have turned out if I’d had the strength to resist. I know some readers, when reading my book, will probably say to themselves, “Oh Christina, how do you keep getting yourself into these situations?” But I hope by the end they’ll understand me more, and see why certain things happened.
A more honest answer is my children. They’re my favourite characters. None of them asked to be in this story, but I brought them into it, fought like mad to keep them safe from its many villains, and they’ve all done exceptionally well in dealing with it. I’m so proud of them. Some have said they won’t read it – “Too painful, Mum,” – but I hope one day they do. If I’m still around, we can talk through everything that happened, but if I’m not, I think it’ll help them see why events fell into place the way they did. They might even start to understand their old mum a bit better.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Nothing fancy. Just a mint tea in an old-fashioned teacup, with some candles lit around me, the incense burning nearby and some soft meditation music playing in the background.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I can get easily distracted. It’s stirring up all those old memories that does it. So many of them are buried under layers and layers of dust, and when you uncover one, a thousand more spill out. It really is like going through old photo albums. You just keep turning the pages, one after the other, and remembering who everyone is. It’s amazing really, recalling the sound of each person’s voice, the clothes they wore, and the bad jokes they used to tell. You can get lost in it, and I very often do. For the next book, I’ll try and rein this in a bit more.
How did you research your book?
Well, I lived it all, didn’t I? The good, the bad and the ugly. Each day, trying to make sense of all the strange characters around me, do things that didn’t upset them, and stop myself and the kids from coming to harm. Thinking of it all now as a book is a bit strange, because it’s my actual life, made up so many incidents that were terribly difficult to get through. I didn’t think there was any story there to tell, but when I was giving readings to people, sometimes they’d ask a bit about me, and little snippets would emerge. I’d then watch their mouths fall open.
“Oh, Christina, you really should write all this down,” they’d say. “You’ve no idea how many people this might help.” I hadn’t even considered that, but as so much of my life has been spent trying to help others, I started to think, “Well, there’s no harm scribbling some of it down, is there?”
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
In terms of writing my own life story down, the plot was very much there already; but actually living the life I’ve been writing about? . . . well, I’ve most definitely been a pantser in that department. I’ve never known what’s going to happen next, or whether I’d even be around to experience it. That’s all been left in the hands of my three guardian angels, the ones who’ve pulled me back from the brink of death many times, or whispered into my ear to take the path I wasn’t planning to take. I’ve always wondered why they kept protecting me – maybe this book (if it can go on to help others, or at least offer some reassurance to someone) is the reason. Only time will tell.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Camelot. Although I’m not choosing that, it’s choosing me. With its castle and court, and all its noble knights and powerful women, it was the place I dreamed of escaping to more than any other when I was a child. I don’t know which image of it I first saw, possibly the Doré one, but it stole my breath away and hasn’t stopped since. That places could exist like that, if only in people’s imaginations, I wanted to live there, and get away from everything that was happening in my own life a million miles, and a billion tears, away.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Lady Guinevere obviously. At first it was for her beauty, how she was depicted in all those paintings (has anyone ever looked more striking or beautiful?); but then later it was because of what she symbolised to me. She seemed so powerful, like she could do anything. But then, as I got older and got to know her story better, and came to understand the tragedy that surrounded her, I was able to relate to her even more. The bad choices she made, how she was a slave to her own passions, but also a victim of male storytellers, who took her and changed her fate to suit their own needs. The poor girl’s never had much of a say in how she’s to be remembered.
In a way, though, I already did befriend her. As a six-year-old in Bootle, she and I would have tea parties together in my bedroom cupboard, as the rest of my ‘family’ went at each other like cat and dog. Sitting beside me, in that cramped space, with my teddies and dollies, she’d drink the tea I poured for her, and enjoy the buns I made. She listened to everything I said to her back then, and gave me lots of advice on how to handle all the abuse I was being subjected to every day. Now I’m grown, and a little wiser about things, I’d like to listen to her and maybe, just maybe, I could offer some advice in return.
Christina was born in Bootle, on the outskirts of Liverpool, on the 27th June 1959. Unwanted, she soon found herself wrapped in blankets and dumped on the steps of Olive and Richard Guy, acquaintances of her natural mother. The Guys agreed to take her in, not out of charity, but for the handouts given to them by the government. Raised alongside a handful of ‘siblings’, she suffered terrible abuse in the household, and was sent out, upon turning 11, to work in a general store up the road. At 17, she left Bootle to live with her sister in Birkenhead, but was pushed into the arms of her twice-married neighbour, John. But if she thought things would improve as John’s third wife she was sorely mistaken. Under his roof the abuse intensified, and Christina soon found herself with two young children to feed. Three more would follow, each a miracle, given the dreadful conditions they were born in. All five have since grown into wonderful, caring adults, and have so far given Christina four beautiful grandchildren.
Currently, Christina lives in a picturesque village on the outskirts of Chester, with her partner Wayne, and their two dogs, Apollo (a Great Dane) and Che (a German Shepherd). She is now a qualified Reiki healer and spends much of her time, together with her three guardian angels, helping people with their own problems and pains. Alongside this, she also finds the time to run her own cleaning business.